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Building movement or settlement causes of vinyl siding damage:
Siding damage on a building may indicate serious structrural damage such as settlement, rot, insect damage, even a developing foundation or wall collapse. This article illustrates severely rippled buckled siding caused by movement in the underlying structure.
This article series discusses all of the known causes of buckled, loose, cracked or otherewise damaged vinyl siding.
Rippled or loose vinyl siding may be more than just a cosmetic worry, and may indicate structural defects, building movement, leaks, or even heat or fire hazards.
Vinyl Siding Buckled, Torn Due to Building Movement
Above we illustrate a sure clue of hidden rot or insect damage: crushing buckled vinyl siding at or close to ground level. Further investigation in this New York home disclosed a wood floor built actually on and below grade level and very extensive termite damage to the building's wood sills and floor structure.
Though there was no access below the floor without demolition, this visual clue launched an appropriate investigation and avoided a costly surprise.
Watch out: many building cladding materials such as vinyl siding and some aluminum siding may stay in place and look pretty good even though the structure to which they are attached is in trouble. Our opinion is that by the time you see siding buckling at the point of ground contact or bending such as in our page top photo, the building has already suffered serious damage.
Above, this building in Northern Maine has settled and sagged enough to actually bend and tear the vinyl siding.
Finally, in our photo above you can see deformed vinyl siding that has pulled away from the building due to collapse of the lower roofed structure to which siding was attached by glued-on (and improper) roof-wall flashing.
Reader Question: are there structural issues with wrinkled vinyl siding?
No where does it tell me if there are structural issues with wrinkled siding. Mine is in a place where it doesn't matter if it's wrinkled, but I don't wish to have the structure integrity compromised. - Carol Heitlinger 6/9/2012
Quite So, Carol.
We don't expect to blame "wrinkled siding" such as the heat-damaged siding above, or buckled siding described in the article above as a structural integrity problem.
Since building siding is a skin that is "hung" on the structure, usually wrinkles in the siding are usually due to heat such as from a BBQ grille placed too close to vinyl siding, or more often wavy siding is due to improper fastening of the siding to the building (nailing too tightly) combined with the effects of heat from sun exposure - not a structural defect.
There is an exception: in cases of significant structural movement, or rotted crushing sills in an older wood-framed home, I've seen aluminum or vinyl siding that were bulged in locations where siding was down in contact with the ground. That's not a wrinkled siding problem it's a bulged siding problem.
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Bob Fankhauser <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 503 206 9824 Cell, a retired engineer / professional handyman and Habitat for Humanity volunteer who offered comments, suggestions, additions for vinyl CLTE (Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion), CPVC, PVC, cellular PVC, and vinyl (25 Feb 20-16) as well as helpful discussion concerning the wide variation in coefficients of expansion of materials given by various sources.
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